As the nation of Israel strenuously grapples with the hot button issue of the bizarre coalition government that was formed between Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, Yamina’s Naftali Bennett and for the very first time, Mansour Abbas, of the Arab Ra’am Party.
For anyone with eyes to see and ears that hear, it is not difficult to ascertain that this is a marriage made in hell and heading for divorce even before the honeymoon begins in its infancy phase. Yes, folks, this is like a care going in four different directions as each party’s platform appears diametrically opposed to the next. But then again, politics has always made for strange bedfellows and this one takes home the loving cup for the strangest one ever. When giving this some thought one comes to the simple conclusion that this match made in purgatory has one single motivating factor. That was the relentless drive to oust Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu at all costs, even if that means compromising the greater good of the Jewish nation such as having a leader who is strong enough to stand up to US pressure on a renewal of the Iran deal and a possible two-state disaster.
On another note, those who cast their vote for the Yamina party and those who clearly sympathized with its right wing platform are particularly irked by the colossal betrayal they feel at the hands of party leaders Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. For many voters, it was like the floor was dropped out from under them. As they campaigned across the country at a fever pitch, both Bennett and Shaked crafted images as righter than right zealots. At times they made Netanyahu appear as a swell out to America and other interests. They promised to completely restore the right wing version of the Zionist dream as Jabotinsky and Kahane had called for. Well, in the end, there was “nothing doing” as they say in New York.
As the back room deals are made, one can only wonder what transpired in those onerous meetings with demands flying and over-the-top offers made. What did Bennett promise Mansour Abbas in order to lure him and the growing Ra’am party into the coalition? Speculation is rife that since Ra’am’s constituents are mostly Bedouin Arabs from the southern portion of the country, that Bennett may have promised Mansour that the coalition will reunite families that have been separated for decades by bringing Arab relatives in from different countries and allowing them to permanently settle in Israel.
While this is far from a verified fact, it is not totally unbelievable. While campaigning in the latest election, Bennett said that Abbas was a supporter of terrorism but now he has changed his tune in a dramatic fashion.
As was reported by Ha’aretz, during an interview with Channel 12, Bennett said that during the recent Hamas-Israel war and the riots inside Israel that he saw a very different Mansour Abbas and was quite impressed by him. “He (Abbas) came to the synagogue in Lod that had been set on fire during the tensest moments and said, ‘I want to help.’ Bennett also said that during the violence that took place in Israel’s mixed cities, he said of Abbas: “I saw a decent man, I saw a brave leader, it must be said. Now, time will tell. I can’t guarantee anything. But he extends a hand and says something very simple: ‘I want to take care of Arab Israelis’ civilian issues.’ When asked whether he stood by past comments referring to Abbas as a “supporter of terrorism” Bennett answered in the negative, according to the Ha’aretz report.
Also during the campaign, Bennett was quoted as saying: “I will never lend my hand to setting up a government led by Yair Lapid, not even on a rotation basis, simply because I am from the Right wing and he is from the Left wing. I will never work against my own values.” He said this more than once and signed a declaration saying that on TV.
Others believe such concessions were made to Abbas as the repeal of the Kaminitz law and the regulation of illegal construction in the Arab sector.
One can only imagine in their own nightmare of betrayal what other issues were on the table between Bennett and Abbas and what kind of decision making power was handed over to a man and a party that subscribes to the radical anti-Israel views of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Only time will tell. But until the six car collision at top speed takes place, let everyone hold tight because as the golden age of Hollywood actress Bette Davis once said in her immortal role as Margo Channing in “All About Eve” – “Fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy night”